30 June 2004

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

from CNN/Money: "The sixth book in the popular Harry Potter series will be titled 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,' the books' author J.K. Rowling has announced." Read the rest.

Happy Birthday, David McPhail!

I love David McPhail very much.

A few years ago, I helped organize and run a card catalog auction to earn funds for a children's room. Many authors and celebrities responded graciously, sending pictures, illustated catalog cards and more. David McPhail sent some of the most beautifully illustrated cards, for which I wrote him a personal thank you letter. (Actually, I wrote personal thank yous to all the children's authors/artists who responded. Some were just easier to write than others!)

Imagine my delight and surprise when he responded with another letter, this one including several small watercolors, as well as bits from his scrapbook! We were able to frame some of that artwork for a second, smaller auction, all of which, ultimately, helped us build the children's room.

I cherish the catalog card I "won" at the auction (I got the card for Edward and the Pirates. Woo-hoo!) as well as the small watercolor my Director insisted I keep. I also found that my love for and good-will toward David McPhail was forever assured.

So, Happy Birthday, Mr. McPhail!

(Wow! It's been a rather good month as far as birthdays of children's book authors go!)

28 June 2004

Return those library books

USA Today warns, "Don't hold onto that library book, or it could cost you your credit rating." Read the rest.

25 June 2004


I will (hopefully) be leaving work a teensy bit early today to see my brother and his family. Yay! They live in Glendale, AZ and I don't see them even remotely often enough. And as much as I love my brother and his charming wife, I am super-excited about seeing my niece and nephew. Yay!

Yay! Yay! Yay!

So, of course, I have books for them. Jonathon will be getting The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems and Bark, George! by Julius Feiffer. Miss Michelle will get board books: In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg and Jamberry by Bruce Degan.


ABC is "Doing It"

Melvin Burgess's controversial teen novel, Doing It, is scheduled to be made into a television series this fall. I don't know if this is a good idea or not, not having read the book yet (although I have placed a hold on it), but I think this could be an interesting development. I wonder if it will be true to the book and how long it will last?

oh, crap.

ALA has issued a press release revealing that, "Just-released Federal Bureau of Investigation documents indicate that the FBI sought to use Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act less than one month after Attorney General John Ashcroft told American Library Association (ALA) President Carla Hayden and the American public that this power had never been used."

One of scariest things, for me, is that this doesn't surprise me one blinkin' bit.

The USA PATRIOT Act scares me, but for cryin' out loud! If Ashcroft and his pals think it is so important, at least tell the truth about whether or not you're using it!

(Now, which one of you would like to sit Mr. Ashcroft down and explain what the word "truth" means?)

Happy Birthday, Eric Carle!

Today is the 75th birthday of Eric Carle. 2004 also marks the 35th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

He says, "In the mid 1960’s Bill Martin Jr saw an ad of a red lobster that I had designed and asked me to illustrate Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? What an inspiring book! Now the large sheets of paper, the colorful paints and fat brushes of my earlier school came to my mind. I was set on fire! It was possible, after all, to do something special that would show a child the joy to be found in books. This opportunity changed my life."

Happy 75th Birthday, Mr. Carle!

23 June 2004

not only for teachers

I'm often looking for just the right (free) font for library signs. There are lots to be found at The Teachers' Parking Lot.

Heartsongs author dies

Mattie Stepanek, who was both the MDA's National Goodwill Ambassador in 2002, 2003, & 2004 and the boy poet who touched many and who counted Oprah and former President Jimmy Carter among his many admirers, has died at the age of 13. Mattie had dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, a genetic neuromuscular disease that impaired almost all of his body's major functions, like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and digestion, and caused muscle weakness.

Mattie once said, "I want people to know my life philosophy, to remember to play after every storm."

22 June 2004

Hitch a ride around the world by reading

A booklist from USA Today.

Doesn't it figure?

For the first time ever, I actually wanted to go to Lollapalooza.

So they cancelled it.


Why can't we?

from a New York Times article: "For the last few years, librarians have increasingly seen people use online search sites not to supplement research libraries but to replace them... 'We can't pretend people will go back to walking into a library and talking to a reference librarian,' said Kate Wittenberg, director of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University." Read the rest.

For the record, I'm all about using the technology to make my life easier. However, a lot of people still need help using the technology and directing their searches to find what they actually want/need. Maybe it's just here, though I doubt it, but we get tons of people who come in and talk to the reference librarian first.

Adams' voice in radio Hitchhiker

from the BBC: "The late Douglas Adams, creator of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, will be heard in the first new radio adaptation of his work in 25 years. He recorded the part of Agrajag in his home studio 18 months before he died in 2001, aged 49..." Read the rest.

21 June 2004


If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
I'm the triolet, bursting with pride;
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
No, it isn't obsessive. Now hide
All the spoons or I might get convulsive.
If they told you I'm mad then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Now, in my head, I keep singing, "Triolet-a, gentille Triolet-a, Triolet-a je te plumerai..." Hmm... What manner of plumage might a Triolet-a have?

Erm... I refer you to the above: "If they told you I'm mad then they lied."

What exactly is a triolet? And should I try to write one?

(Thanks to Catalogue Annie for pointing me here.)

19 June 2004

Bradbury is not happy

Apparently, Ray Bradbury is not a happy camper about Michael Moore calling his new film Fahrenheit 9/11.

There are also reports of an interview Bradbury gave to a Swedish daily newspaper (Dagens Nyheter) in which he allegedly called Moore a "screwed a------" and "horrible human being." Strong words.

Interesting, especially as another blog has pointed out Bradbury's own use of other people's words for some of his own work. There is also discussion of this (arguing both sides of the argument) on Bradbury's own website discussion board.

I wonder if Bradbury was paid royalties for the new Harry Potter film marketing, since some of the posters bear the tagline, "Something wicked this way comes"?

It all just seems unfortunate to me, especially since I love and respect Mr. Bradbury and am saddened by this incident, which could serve to make him seem kind of, um... petty.

Whatever Mr. Bradbury's opinion of Moore's politics and film-making (and he doesn't seem to hold Moore in high regard), I have serious doubts about the new film having any detrimental effect on the work and influence of Mr. Bradbury's masterpiece...

18 June 2004

Happy Birthday, Chris Van Allsburg!

Chris Van Allsburg (whose award-winning classic, The Polar Express, will soon be a film) has a birthday tomorrow.

I adore Van Allsburg's art and the slightly bizarre tales he often tells, so it's hard to choose a favorite. Probably a toss-up between Bad Day at Riverbend and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

I do have a favorite quote from him, though: "Some people may contend that there is no image more charming that a child holding a puppy or kitten. But for me that's a distant second. When I see a child clutching a book... to his or her tiny bosom, I'm moved. Children can possess a book in a way they can never possess a video game, a TV show, or a Darth Vader doll. A book comes alive when they read it. They give it life themselves by understanding it."

Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Van Allsburg!

17 June 2004

Yay, Todd!

The marvelous, lovely Todd Parr and his smile-inducing art are featured in a new Panasonic ad campaign -- there's a commercial and a print ad. (He has a link to the commercial on his website.)

16 June 2004

That's Doctor Tambourine Man, thanks

"Scotland's oldest university announced Wednesday that it was awarding an honorary doctorate to the laureate of folk-rock, Bob Dylan..." Read the rest.

Get "Berrified"

which Strawberry Shortcake character are you? quiz by: carrie

Thanks to CatalogueAnnie for pointing me toward this cute little quiz.

Breaking News

The Onion reports: "J.K. Rowling Ends Harry Potter Series After Discovering Boys."

15 June 2004

Summer Reading Club and stuff

So, grant season is here and Summer Reading Club has finally started and work has gotten even more hectic than usual, hence the lack o' bloggy goodness. On the plus side, though, by the second day of registration, we already have over 90 kids signed up. (I thought that was way low at first, but I guess last year they had just over 100 all summer. Yay, us!)

I will probably never get around to writing what I wanted to about the BookExpo and Printer's Row. Suffice it to say, both rocked. Came home from the expo with an advanced copy of Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis as my prize freebie. It seems to be for a slightly older audience than his other books, but I'm not complaining. Although I seem to keep getting sidetracked, I am enjoying it very much.

At Printer's Row we were able to see Christopher Paul Curtis and hear him read from the new book. Afterwards, The Boy and I got our books signed. Mr. Curtis was very warm and kind and seemed to take the time to chat with everyone who approached him. I took a picture of The Boy with him (which, if I ever finish this roll of film, I will post) and had him sign my copy of the new book.

He teased me for having an "unauthorized" book and then signed it with the words, "I'm such a fan of librarians!" He was even cooler than I had ever imagined and deserves ever last drop of success he is enjoying!

Every single one...

...of our Sweet Valley High books is missing.

All of them.


Paula Danziger

A member on one of the listservs I belong to has informed us that Paula Danziger -- author of many popular books, including the Amber Brown series -- had a heart attack friday and was taken to the hospital where she suffered a second attack. Apparently, she's at St. Luke's hospital in NY and word on her condition is being given only to her family.

Please offer a prayer to whatever deity you believe in, or just think kind thoughts toward this funny, well-loved author.

10 June 2004

Happy Birthday to the King of All Wild Things!

Warmest wishes to the remarkable Maurice Sendak on this, the 76th anniversary of his birth.

And, a great Sendakian quote: "If there's any advice I have to give, I would say it's that. If you're looking for a way to get closer to your kids, there ain't no better way than to grab 'em and read. And if you put them in front of a computer or a TV, you are abandoning them. You are abandoning them because they are sitting on a couch or a floor and they may be hugging a dog, but they ain't hugging you." (from an interview with Marion Long)

He gives us books that beg to be shared, so let's do our part and read to someone we love! (And, hey, it doesn't have to be a kid! 100 years ago I had a friend in the Army who was stationed in Korea and we would read to each other across the miles via telephone...)

The bunnies don't stop!

Woo-hoo! Titanic in 30 secondsand re-enacted by bunnies) is now playing.

I love Kurt Vonnegut

Why? Well, for starters, he's not afraid of articulating his opinions: "Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America's becoming humane and reasonable..."

Read the rest.

"Georgia on my mind..."

I was sad to learn that Ray Charles has died. He was 73 years old.

His Yahoo bio begins, "The word 'genius' just might be the most overused term in the entire pop music genre. 'Genius' was being used to describe Ray Charles, however, before it was being used to describe anyone else cutting pop singles--and, for once, the description was probably appropriate."

Lucky for us, we will have his music forever.

08 June 2004

Shortcake and Me

So, anyway, I have not yet found the time to write about the BookExpo or about the Printer's Row Book Fair, both of which were fabulous. I'll try to find a free minute or two soon, dearlings. In the meantime, here's a picture of me with my girl, Strawberry Shortcake.

(Her head was so big it scared me, though. Seriously.)

07 June 2004

Ever wondered how the bee got his knees?

Apparently, bees have no knees and it's all just poppycock.

(Lovely snapshot, though.)

NOTE ADDED 6/21: The original article has disappeared into the inter-ether, but the origin of the phrase is also explained here.

What kind of thinker are you?

I am a Linguistic Thinker.

"Linguistic thinkers:
* Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
* Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Other Linguistic Thinkers include William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank.

Careers which suit Linguistic thinkers include Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist.

Like linguistic thinkers, Leonardo made meticulous descriptions in his journals. He also made an effort to learn Latin - a foreign language."

What kind of thinker are you?

Thanks to CatalogueAnnie for the link.

hmm... Library Card sign-up month promotion?

We could so adapt this to rewarding folk with library cards:

"In a bid to lure men in Britain away from TV soccer games and into book shops, publisher Penguin Books will send out a sexy model to offer 1,000-pound ($1,837) prizes to males spotted reading a selected title."


Heh. I went and had my site re-analyzed after my last post, just to see if using the word "heavens" had had any effect.

Only 21% evil now (79% good).

Seems awfully simplistic. ;-)

Rate yourself.


This site is certified 64% GOOD by the Gematriculator This site is certified 36% EVIL by the Gematriculator

So, apparently, I am only 64% good.

And I don't know how to change that, so I guess I'm stuck. Thank heavens (does using the word "heavens" have any effect?) I'm above 50%, eh?

Thanks (I think) to lalcorn for the link.

Polar Express

Trailers for the forthcoming Polar Express film are available for viewing.

I was fully prepared to hate this movie (in my opinion, films made from picture books rarely work out), but this looks pretty great.


05 June 2004

Happy Birthday, Richard Scarry!

Today would have been Richard Scarry's 85th birthday. I have friends who adored the Busytown books (as do many of my young patrons), but I was never very enamored of Goldbug and Lowly Worm and the crew.

Instead, I loved his bunnies. One of my all time favorite picture books will ever be When Bunny Grows Up, which was (is) a Little Golden Book. In fact, I love it so much I will read it as soon as I finish this, in honor of Mr. Scarry's birthday!

03 June 2004

Today's wish

I wish WLUW broadcast farther south than North Ave.

Thank goodness for the internet.

What the world needs now...

... is a film version of Walter the Farting Dog!


Happy Birthday...

... to Anita Lobel, picture book artist extraordinaire!

02 June 2004

What I learned from The Day After Tomorrow

There has been some discussion about the perceived environmental moralizing in The Day After Tomorrow. However, I learned a much more valuable lesson form this summer's disaster hit.

If the world goes haywire and it seems that civilization is ending, the best plan is to go to the public library.

Yes, it may be unavoidable that some books must be burned to keep you alive (although wouldn't the furniture burn more slowly and effectively?), but you can even make that bearable if, for instance, you start with the Tax Code. (And yes, geek that I am, when one character suggested that, I whispered, "336?") Also, be sure to set aside at least one spectacular book (in this case, a Gutenberg Bible) to be saved as a reminder of the Miracle of Literature.

So, to recap: Danger? Get thee to a library!

Yay, me!

Sunday's Chicago Tribune included, in its book section, a selection of suggested books for children. I was lucky enough to get to write the annotated bibliography on graphic novels. Yay! Unfortunate formatting makes it less than ideal for on-line viewing -- one continuous page of text -- but if you click on your scroll down bar about 5 times, you'll be at the graphic novel section.

Make way for Lyra

Move over, Harry Potter.